How to Groom Tomato Plants


Grooming, or pruning, a tomato plant means to remove small branches, called suckers, that develop in the "Y" between a branch and the main stem. Advantages to pruning include focusing growth on the fruit instead of foliage and limiting exposure to insects and disease. Indeterminate tomato varieties continue growing throughout the season and require staking. These varieties will benefit the most from pruning. Pruning results in healthier plants and is completed with little effort.

Step 1

Prune indeterminate, staked tomatoes when the plant reaches 1 to 2 feet tall.

Step 2

Pinch off suckers by hand or with sharp pruning shears when suckers are 1 to 2 inches long.

Step 3

Prune the top of the plant toward the end of the season when the plants begin to outgrow their support. Pinch off just the suckers growing over the top of the support.

Step 4

Water plants at soil level after pruning to keep soil out of the plant's open wounds.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • National Gardening Association: Pruning Tomatoes
  • Michigan Gardener: Pruning Tomato Plants
Keywords: tomato plants, prune tomato plants, groom tomato plants

About this Author

Sommer Leigh has produced home, garden, family and health content since 1997 for such nationally known publications as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Ladies' Home Journal," "Midwest Living," "Healthy Kids" and "American Baby." Leigh also owns a Web consulting business and writes for several Internet publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in information technology and Web management from the University of Phoenix.